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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 23, issue 5
Ann. Geophys., 23, 1943–1947, 2005
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-23-1943-2005
© Author(s) 2005. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 23, 1943–1947, 2005
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-23-1943-2005
© Author(s) 2005. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  28 Jul 2005

28 Jul 2005

Magnetospheric energy inputs into the upper atmospheres of the giant planets

C. G. A. Smith, S. Miller, and A. D. Aylward C. G. A. Smith et al.
  • Atmospheric Physics Laboratory, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College, London, UK

Abstract. We revisit the effects of Joule heating upon the upper atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn. We show that in addition to direct Joule heating there is an additional input of kinetic energy – ion drag energy – which we quantify relative to the Joule heating. We also show that fluctuations about the mean electric field, as observed in the Earth's ionosphere, may significantly increase the Joule heating itself. For physically plausible parameters these effects may increase previous estimates of the upper atmospheric energy input at Saturn from ~10 TW to ~20 TW.

Keywords. Ionosphere (Electric fields and currents; Planetary ionosphere) – Magnetospheric physics (Auroral phenomena)

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